Meet our young warriors

Meet Isaiah – Wilm's tumor Warrior

“Isaiah’s cancer has affected our entire family, and stress over finances is the last thing a cancer family should be thinking about. Thanks to NCCS, some of those financial anxieties have been lifted and I am able to be physically and emotionally present during this difficult time.”

Meet Isaiah

Isaiah’s mom, Jillian, fondly remembers the day her son was born. “He was the largest baby the doctors had seen in a long time. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 5 ounces. He was a happy, sweet, and snuggly baby from day one,” she reflected.

However, a routine doctor’s visit when Isaiah was only 4 months old led to concern. “I asked his pediatrician if his cheek size would even out, as his left cheek was slightly larger than his right, and it didn’t seem to be evening out like the rest of the newborn baby stuff did,” Jillian said. “Our doctor sent us to genetics to be safe, stating a genetic/epigenetic syndrome could be the cause.”

The pediatrician’s recommendation included screening ultrasounds and lab work every three months, as well as four lab tests to isolate the gene in his blood. “All of his labs and ultrasounds for the next one and a half years were completely normal,” said Jillian. “We had just returned from vacation, and I was considering canceling the ultrasound because when we saw genetics recently, they gave us the all-clear based on his lab work. Our pediatrician suggested doing a couple more ultrasounds to be safe.”

The Diagnosis

“Our pediatrician called to tell me the results of the ultrasound came back and there was a new 2.2cm mass on Isaiah’s right kidney,” Jillian shared. That phone call was the beginning of Isaiah and Jillian’s “new normal,” as things began to move very quickly from that point. Jillian recalled, “We saw urology the very next week; had an MRI under sedation to confirm; and wound up having surgery five days after he turned 2 years old.”

“Our surgical team was meticulous and wonderful, and they got the entire tumor,” said Jillian. “When the pathology came back, we found that Isaiah had a Wilm’s tumor. Isaiah started chemo shortly after and is currently still in treatment.”

Isaiah has been through so much already: surgeries, hospital stays, MRIs, blood draws, and chemotherapy. But despite that, he continues to be the sweet baby boy that he’s always been. “Looking at Isaiah, you would have no clue he is a cancer patient,” said Jillian. “He is happy almost all the time – except during port access – and manages the side effects he gets so well.”

Jillian reports that Isaiah loves his doctors and nurses, and he brings joy to the infusion clinic they attend. “We have been blessed that his tumor was caught early on and he has a very good prognosis,” she said. “I know there is always a reason to be vigilant moving forward. We have an amazing team of healthcare providers and I know we will get the best possible outcome. I believe a higher power has been guiding all of us, as some of the early signs would be easily missed if there was not. I am blessed to be able to obtain all of Isaiah’s care in the same hospital system I work for, which has a heavy spiritual base to it. My baby boy is thriving despite cancer trying to get him down, and for that, I am ever grateful.”

Jillian is a single mom caring for Isaiah and his two older brothers. Caring for a child during treatment is a full-time job in itself, so Jillian went on medical leave from her work. “My employer has been amazing with allowing me to be off this entire time, and I know I have a job to return to when this is hopefully all done and he is clear,” explained Jillian.

“I am an adult oncology nurse by profession, so I had a good understanding of what chemotherapy meant. I was blessed to have an amazing social worker with Isaiah’s oncology clinic who suggested NCCS as a foundation that could help out while I am unable to work,” said Jillian.

“Isaiah’s cancer has affected our entire family, and stress over finances is the last thing a cancer family should be thinking about. Thanks to NCCS, some of those financial anxieties have been lifted and I am able to be physically and emotionally present during this difficult time. Isaiah does not know that what he is going through is not normal, and his loving spirit is beautiful to watch.”

The National Children’s Cancer Society is here for families who are living with childhood cancer. Isaiah’s family is being supported by the Transportation Assistance Fund, which has helped the family cover the cost of gas to and from treatment facilities. They have also received support from the Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides financial relief during long in-patient stays. We will continue to support their needs… Because no family should go through childhood cancer alone.™